David Byrne on his remote collaborations with Brian Eno:
The unwritten game rules in these remote collaborations seem to be to leave the other person’s stuff alone as much as you can. Work with what you’re given; don’t try to imagine it as something other than what it is. … The fact that half the musical decision-making has already been done bypasses a lot of waffling and worrying. I didn’t have to think about what to do and what direction to take musically — the train had already left the station and my job was to see where it wanted to go.
He goes on to ask:
Is writing ever NOT collaboration? Doesn’t one collaborate with oneself, in a sense? Don’t we access different aspects of ourselves, different characters and attitudes and then, when they’ve had their say, switch hats and take a more distanced and critical view — editing and structuring our other half’s outpourings? Isn’t the end product sort of the result of two sides collaborating?
I like this. Collaboration as the caretaking and guidance of two parts of a moving train.